04 August 2023

The Edge of Daybreak


Chiang Mai Film Festival

Taiki Sakpisit’s The Edge of Daybreak (พญาโศกพิโยคค่ำ) will be shown in both Chiang Mai and Songkhla later this month, as part of the Chiang Mai Film Festival and Pakk Taii Design Week’s Singorama programme. Singorama also includes an exhibition of Thai film posters curated by Philip Jablon.

Like Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (ลุงบุญมีระลึกชาติ) and Jakrawal Nilthamrong’s Anatomy of Time (เวลา), The Edge of Daybreak shows the twilight years of a former soldier who fought against the Communist insurgency. It begins with a flashback to that era, narrated by the old man: “I was leading my unit into the woods to catch the students.”

In all three films, the ex-soldiers are largely bedridden, and it’s implied that their lingering illnesses are the result of karma. In The Edge of Daybreak, the former general’s family believe that they are cursed and, as if to confirm this, the exquisite black-and-white camerawork lingers on images of decay, such as rotting food and their crumbling home. The violent legacy of the anti-Communist purge is also a curse on the country itself, and Taiki’s film offers a reckoning with Thailand’s past and a commentary on its continuing military rule.

Singorama

The Edge of Daybreak will be shown at Thailand Creative and Design Center’s Chiang Mai branch on 11th August, and at the Songkhla Art Center on 19th August. The Chiang Mai Film Festival runs from 8th to 12th August. It also includes Vichart Somkaew’s Cremation Ceremony (ประวัติย่อของบางสิ่งที่หายไป) on 11th August; and Koraphat Cheeradit’s Yesterday Is Another Day and Weerapat Sakolvaree’s Nostalgia, both screening on 12th August. Pakk Taii Design Week and Singorama run from 12th to 20th August.

Yesterday Is Another Day and Nostalgia were both previously shown as part of The Political Wanderer, a programme of short films at Silpakorn University. Nostalgia has also been shown at Wildtype 2022, Future Fest 2023, and the 26th Thai Short Film and Video Festival (เทศกาลภาพยนตร์สั้นครั้งที่ 26).